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Mumps vaccine shortage update (November 2009)

Breakspear Medical Group has an uninterrupted supply of rubella and measles vaccines, however, Merck, the only manufacturer of a single mumps vaccine that had a proven record of safety and efficacy, has decided not to resume production of single mumps vaccines.  Therefore there will be no further supplies of single mumps vaccines coming into the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future.

In June 2009, we learned that production of MUMPSVAX was not expected to resume for at least 2 years.  In November 2009, we were shocked to learn that Merck, the only manufacturer of the single mumps vaccine, has decided not to resume production of their single vaccines for measles (ATTENUVAX), mumps (MUMPSVAX) and rubella (MERUVAX).

On Monday 2 November 2009, Merck posted the following statement on the supply status page of their website:

 

“Monovalent vaccines no longer available for measles, mumps, rubella -

Based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practises (ACIP), professional societies, scientific leaders, and customers, Merck has decided not to resume production of ATTENUVAX® (Measles Virus Vaccine Live), MUMPSVAX® (Mumps Virus Vaccine Live), and MERUVAX®II (Rubella Virus Vaccine Live)…”

 

After receiving this news, Breakspear Medical Group's Managing Director, Alister Monro, sent out a letter to all parents and guardians of children who were on the waiting list for the mumps vaccination.  In his letter, he stated:

Merck was the only manufacturer of a single mumps vaccine that had a proven record of safety and efficacy. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has confirmed that they are not aware of an alternative to MUMPSVAX® that has demonstrated appropriate safety. There will now be no further supplies of single mumps vaccines coming into the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future.

(View our Managing Director's complete letter.)

At Breakspear, we believe that it is extremely important for children to have protection through immunisation, and we fear that parents may choose not to immunise their children at all if they can not obtain single vaccines. We will continue to offer immunisations for measles and rubella which are readily available from other reputable manufacturers, as we believe that parents should be able to choose.

 

How does the mumps shortage affect me or my child?

Because of the mumps vaccine shortage, Breakspear Medical Group, and other clinics around the world, are unable to administer any single mumps vaccinations at this time and for the foreseeable future.  We will continue to offer the single immunisations for measles and rubella.

If you have started a course of single vaccinations at Breakspear and were on the waiting list for the mumps vaccination, please read the following:

  • If you have prepaid for your child’s mumps immunisation we will be happy to refund you the £90 for this vaccination. Please contact us and we can send you a cheque or we can refund your debit or credit card.

  • If your child has had an initial mumps immunisation and is on the waiting list for the booster, a simple blood test can be undertaken to determine immune status. In our experience, many children have maintained a good level of immunity to mumps and may not require a repeat immunisation. The charge for the IgG Mumps Antibodies test is £60. Please contact us if you would like to more information.

Contact our Immunisation Department by email or by phone 01442 261 333 Option 1.  The Immunisation Department is open 9:00am - 5:00pm, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

 

Why is there a mumps vaccine shortage?

MUMPSVAX is manufactured and distributed by Merck & Co., Inc, which is a global pharmaceutical company. Merck has the exclusive international rights to the Jeryl Lynn strain of the mumps virus used in M-M-R II vaccine and the MUMPSVAX monovalent (single) mumps vaccine.

To ensure the accuracy of the information we received regarding the Merck's decision to cease production of the single vaccines, we made enquiries and were sent a copy of a letter from Dr Mark Feinberg of Merck Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, which has been prepared to explain their decision.

Because Merck holds the international rights to the Jeryl Lynn strain of the mumps virus, unless Merck changes its plans, these single mumps vaccines will not be available anywhere in the world. Individual measles and rubella vaccines are however readily available from other reputable manufacturers.

 

 

What is mumps?

 

Visit our section on mumps, which describes the disease and provides more information about mumps from the Health Protection Agency's Information Leaflet on Mumps.

 

 


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